Golden Tickets: Adolphus Washington

Ohio State junior defensive lineman Adolphus Washington lost his job as a defensive end when his injury helped spark the emergence of Joey Bosa. After moving to the defensive interior, he's ready to prove that he can handle double-teams and help give Ohio State one of the best defensive fronts in the country.

After Ohio State's April 12 spring game, head coach Urban Meyer pointed to seven players as having spots sewn up on his defense as the team heads into summer workouts. Those seven players earned what we're calling Golden Tickets to start on a defense that has its sights set on returning the Buckeye stop troops to Silver Bullet status. We're profiling each of those seven players as well as taking a look at the remaining position battles in a series this week.

Adolphus Washington
Position: Defensive tackle
Height: 6-4
Weight: 288
Hometown/HS: Cincinnati Taft
Previous Stats: After battling a groin injury that cost him two games, Washington made 36 tackles as a sophomore in 2013. He finished with two sacks for nine yards and four tackles for loss for 12 yards.

What They're Saying: When junior defensive lineman Adolphus Washington went down with a groin injury against San Diego State in the second game of the 2013 season, he couldn't have known the impact it would have on his career at Ohio State.

Washington didn't make the trip to California the following week and was replaced in the starting lineup by a true freshman named Joey Bosa. The rest, as they say, is history. Washington made only three other starts the rest of the season, while Bosa was named a freshman All-American.

With Bosa set to bookend the defensive line with fellow star Noah Spence for the foreseeable future, the writing was on the wall for Washington. He made the move to the interior later in the 2013 season and is now one of seven defensive players that OSU head coach Urban Meyer says have locked up a starting role this fall.

"At first I was kind of nervous and scared about it," Washington said. "But now that I got the hold of it, it's whatever. I am just going to go out there and play."

He found a supporter in new defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who believes that Washington possesses the necessary tools to be successful at defensive tackle.

"I think, because of his ability to rush the passer, you always want a three-technique who is going to get a lot of one-on-ones, a guy who has the ability to rush the passer," Johnson said. "He's 285, 290, and that's big enough to play inside. So you take a skilled guy who has rushed on the edge and then bring him to the inside against a guy at the guard position, it gives you a different edge on the inside. That's what I'm excited about. He's got great hips, he can rush the passer, so there should be some great things coming from him."

Despite those qualities, Washington still had some concerns about playing on the inside. While defensive ends often face just one blocker, the double-teams that pop up in the interior gave him pause.

Once he realized he could effectively battle them, though, any hesitations he still harbored melted away.

"Honestly, the double-teams (were concerning) because I used to watch and Michael Bennett used to tell me about them, and you've just got to get your pads lower, you've got to fire off the ball," Washington said. "So, I was like, 'Well, I can do that.' If that's all it takes, I can do that."

He's proved to himself that he can handle his new role and notched his share of wins this spring against one of the two offensive linemen currently penciled in for a starting role.

"I've been doing real good with it this spring," Washington said. "Especially going up against guys like Pat Elflein and Tommy Brown."

That success is something that both his position coach and head coach have taken notice of. That he's doing it at a new position is simply an added bonus.

"He's worked really hard," Johnson said. "He's had a really good spring ball. He really has. We moved him inside because of the pass rush ability, he's playing the run real nice and he's really doing a great job for us."

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